This sucks, What now? Coping with Corona As an Entrepreneur.
I think it's safe to say none of us were prepared for the COVID-19 Tsunami that has come and ripped through our lives one way or another. Business was hard before Rona but now we face unprecedented challenges that seem absolutely insurmountable. No-one from the President of the United States of America, to your local corner store owner knows just what to do, how long this will last and what we should do in the meantime. Unlike some big businesses, we don't have investors or venture capital, loans or any other form of cushion so we're just doing our best to try to keep the doors open during this crisis. Our hearts go out to business owners everywhere and we want to continue to spread joy to our community in light of this crisis.
I've been through a lot as a business owner, but nothing like this. Initially, I didn't believe this crisis would affect me or my business. Then it did, not only personally, but business-wise and career-wise. Before this happened I was trying to get myself to just enjoy my success. We had seen the best month in sales history, hired an assistant and finally expanded our Pop-UP to 3 cities. We were negotiating with sponsors and finally cracked the code to successfully advertising on Facebook.
Then Rona happened. The worst part of the situation is that there is no end in sight. While we know it will end, we just don't know when. That makes the situation quite despairing. In addition, we've got the national news, Instagrammers, Facebookers and family members all telling us to be afraid as if we're living through the zombie apocalypse. There's no toilet paper anywhere and it's all downright overwhelming. I have personally experienced a roller coaster of emotions since the onset of this crisis. From complete dread, to frustration, anger, grief and a 3-day long depression gluing: me to my couch and a wine-glass to my hand. I get emails asking for refunds, demanding cancellation of our events, comments demanding us to cancel, so-on and so forth.
As the days pass we are reminded of all the times we've had to persevere and keep going in the face of the unknown.
Thankfully, I've always been a perseverer. I've always had to work really hard. I am a firm believer that all the tough times I've been through prepare me for even tougher times. While I would love to lay down and let this crisis take me out, the fighter in me refuses to. I am sharing my resolve in an effort to help anyone else out there who is trying to find the resolve to navigate through this crisis.
#1 Let it out. I am an emotional being and I encourage myself and others to let their emotions flow. This situation is nothing short of traumatic. Suppressing your emotions is probably not in anyone's best interest. If you need to cry, cry. If you're frustrated be frustrated and if your angry, be angry. Our emotions are our spiritual censors and they deserve to be honored.
#2 Give yourself Grace. Remember that all of this is beyond your specific control. Sometimes I tell myself, "I'm so glad this isn't my fault." Admittedly, I have made my own share of mistakes as an entrepreneur but this is not my fault and I have no control over how fast this escalated or how deep it's impacted. All I can do is be sensitive with myself, knowing when to push myself and when to retreat.
#3 Guard your heart and your mind. Before this I never much listened or watched the news. IG and my grandmother was my news. I chose to limit my news intake in my early twenties because it was just too negative and disproportionate. Remember, that is still true today. I am not negating the severity or significance of the current crisis. I am saying that the same media that has used fear and propaganda in the past are also in charge of the current 24/7 Coronavirus coverage. If you do check the news be sure to do your own fact checking. Don't believe everything you hear and definitely DO NOT take it to heart.
Be careful who you engage with. Some people: friends and family too, only intend to continue to perpetuate histeria and fear. Be mindful and keep your spiritual and mental environment healthy.
#4 Honor your temple: You may be working remotely or not working at all. Try your best to maintain healthy habits like: eating fruits and veggies, drinking water and taking your vitamins. Get out for a walk or do home exercises. It's also okay to indulge! Have that cake and enjoy it. Meditate, run yourself a bubble bath, play in your hair, practice your make-up, watch a DIY facial tutorial. Get into it.
#5 Connect. At first, I didn't want to connect. I found it quite painful. The climate is very political for some reason or another and I just preferred to keep to myself. Then my good friend persistently reached out to me, I answered and it felt so good to have someone to lean on! If/when your support group reaches out don't ignore it. We do not thrive in isolation and we need each other. Now more than ever!!
#6 Do what's best for you. Some days that's, sleeping in. Other days that's cranking out content and updating your website. Don't just start pivoting because you see everyone else is telling you to. Maybe you have been considering pivoting. If you're inclined, go for it. You know what's best for you. Go with your gut and follow your heart.
When it comes to business:
#1 Keep going. The worst thing one could do is completely pause or end their business in light of this crisis. Obviously, if you can't maintain your website payment then you may be forced to pause and that is totally understandable. If you can, keep it going as long as you can. So much of our success as entrepreneurs depends on our forward mobility regardless of the waves we wade through. Don't give up on yourself before the end of the fight. It may be hard to know what to do exactly. Consider developing a list of things that need your attention and work on those. This could be important business filings to taking a class on Facebook marketing, to working on that new line you've been dreaming of.
#2 Trust your ideas: I've been thinking of so many ideas for my businesses and have been thoughtfully reviving areas of the model that need attention. It is quite exciting to think that I am starting this during this time and I can't wait to see where it goes.
#3 Everyone's online, think about how you can be too. Think about how you can be more digital. If you haven't updated your IG, now is the time. While funds may be tight, I do suggest advertising (even $5.00/day) as long as you can to keep your following engaged and growing.
Update your website, Launch your blog, vlog, go live, do it. Now is the time.
Amid all the content that's circulating, somewhere I read that the following juggernauts were launched during the last recession:
- UBER - Lyft
Your company could literally be the next UBER! That's pretty exciting.
#4 Look for the opportunities and take them. If you haven't already, look into all the stimulus packages, loans, relief funds, grants etc, Now IS THE TIME! You may qualify for loans or programs you may not have otherwise qualified for. Seize this opportunity, I know I AM.
Finally, lean into it. This situation sucks to epic proportions. Yet the quicker we let go of our resentment and resistance and ride this wave the sooner the wave will pass. Get into it. Do the time, don't let it do you. Pace yourself, be gentle and most importantly be kind to yourself and others.